Saybrook Alum Publishes Expose on DMS-5 Revisions
Members of Saybrook University’s faculty and staff have not hidden their dissatisfaction with the changes to the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which was published in May. Saybrook’s President, Mark Schulman, challenged the association’s updates in a piece in the Huffington Post, reading in part:
“This is madness. Millions of people who are perfectly healthy, who are not sick but are looking for help, will be forcibly turned into customers for the pharmaceutical industry. Most patients come to therapy not because they have neural chemical imbalances, but because they are grappling with fundamental questions: how do I live a meaningful life in a challenging world? How do I live with integrity? How do I repair my relationships? How do I live in harmony with my environment? Am I alone? What does my life mean?”
Saybrook’s psychology faculty have been particularly vocal about the upcoming changes, with an entire section on their blog, The New Existentialists, covering the history, criticisms and support for the process. Chief among the warnings is the fear that the so-called “Bible of Psychiatry” is pathologizing everyday emotions, cognitions and behaviors.
Now another member of the Saybrook community has written a book that criticizes the manual while investigating the history of mental suffering and our attempts to find scientific answers for it. Gary Greenberg, who graduated Saybrook in 1992 with a PhD in psychology, is a practicing psychotherapist in Connecticut. He spent two years embedded in the war over the DSM-5, participating in the revision process and observing both the APA and its detractors. In an article in the New York Times in May, he said that he decided to write the book after Allen Frances, the psychiatrist who chaired the task force that produced the fourth edition of the DSM, spoke out against the revision.
“It became clear that this time around things would be different,” he said. “It wasn’t just the spectacle of a patriarch suddenly gone rogue. Frances was saying out loud what critics of psychiatry had been saying to no avail for years: that the D.S.M., in all its editions, was a flawed and fragile document.”
For more information about the book, or to purchase it, visit Dr. Greenberg’s website.